The influence of two different dietary patterns on maternal fatty acid (FA) intake on the composition of umbilical cord blood plasma phospholipids and transitional breast milk was investigated. A 7-day dietary record was completed in the last trimester of pregnancy by women living in an inland and a coastal area of south-eastern China. The FA composition in maternal diet was calculated using the 2002 Chinese food composition database. Cord blood and transitional breast milk samples were collected and their FA composition was analyzed by capillary gas-liquid chromatography. Mothers in the coastal area showed higher intake of long-chain polyunsaturated FA (LCPUFA) including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6omega) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA,20:5omega3) but lower linoleic acid (LA, 18:2omega6) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3omega3) than the mothers in the inland area. The intake of arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4omega6) did not differ between the two areas. LA, ALA, AA and DHA in breast milk of day 5 reflected the maternal diet except that the EPA content in breast milk at day 5 was similar for the areas. LA, ALA and AA were lower and EPA higher in umbilical cord plasma phospholipids in infants from the costal compared to the inland area. There were significant differences in maternal intakes of FA confirming different dietary habits, which influenced the FA composition of cord plasma phospholipids and transitional breast milk. Since FA influence gene expression the found variation implies that the long-term follow-up of this cohort will be interesting. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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